Lowestoft once again has its own dedicated large-scale Tourist Information Office for the first time in five years...
Lowestoft once again has its own dedicated large-scale Tourist Information Office for the first time in five years as work is completed on a brand-new facility at the town’s railway station.
The Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership have teamed up with the Lowestoft Central Project with to open the office in time for the Summer holidays and hope it will prove a welcome boost to tourism in the area as the country emerges from Lockdown.
The facility has a mix of tourist information combined with books, locally produced crafts and souvenirs available in addition to stocking public transport timetables, railway collectables and refreshments. The region’s wealth of transport related attractions, heritage railways and Community Rail routes will also be featured as will the Broads National Park and the newly expanded Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve.
Volunteers have spent the past few months converting a former shop unit at the station as part of Greater Anglia’s Community Space initiative, complimenting previous schemes by the Lowestoft Central Project which have included restoration of the former Parcels Office to create a public exhibition space, together with a host of other improvements at the UK’s most easterly station.
Utilising some of the equipment salvaged from the town’s former Tourist information Centre and gifted by East Suffolk District Council, the office has been finished in a heritage green and cream colour scheme complimenting other recently restored parts of the station and will also provide a hub for Community Rail volunteers across the area.
The new facility is now open to the public from 10am to 4pm daily The station remains part of the district-wide Visitor Information Point network, with the new office also linked to the National Park information centres operated by the Broads Authority and will assist in the promotion of the international Scenic Rail Britain initiative.
In a typical year, Lowestoft Station can see up to half a million passengers with hourly services running to Norwich via the Wherry Lines and Ipswich on the East Suffolk Line in addition to those using the station bus interchange. The location of the railway station at the very heart of the town makes the new tourist office ideally suited to serve both residents and visitors alike.
With restrictions on using public transport imposed as part of the Covid 19 pandemic now relaxed to include travel for leisure purposes, the facility has been seen as a welcome boost for both the town and the regional tourist economy, able to promote sustainable travel across the region and beyond.
Current advice is that those travelling on the railway should wear a face covering and these are available to purchase at the new office. The new facility has been widely welcomed:
Bill Dickson, Chair of the Broads Authority said: “I want to thank and congratulate the Community Rail Partnership for their initiative in opening this much needed Tourism Information Centre at Lowestoft station. Lowestoft is a key gateway to the Broads National Park and this will help us promote access to the Southern Broads and beyond through the scenic Bittern and Wherry railway lines.”
Peter Mayne, Chair of Community Rail Norfolk, said: “Our Community Rail Partnerships are committed to supporting the local economy, especially through tourism and I am delighted that this new facility will help to promote the wealth of attractions and activities to be enjoyed across the region including those that can be reached by taking the train via the East Suffolk, Bittern and Wherry Lines.”
Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, said: “It’s great news that a Tourist Information Office is opening in Lowestoft Station next week. Special thanks are due to all those volunteers who have made this possible. The station is an ideal location for this vital facility, sited in the heart of the Town Centre, close to the South Beach and within easy reach of the Broads National Park and the Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve. This news is very timely as we come out of the Lockdown and in advance of the summer holidays. There is so much to do and to see in the area which this office will showcase.”
Simone Bailey, Greater Anglia’s Asset Management Director, said: “We would like to thank all of the volunteers for their hard work in renovating the office, as part of our Community Space initiative. “Lowestoft station is the gateway to the UK’s most easterly-town, which welcomes thousands of tourists every year. We are really pleased with the tourist information office and hope it will be well used by customers arriving by train and other visitors to the town, giving them ideas for other days out locally – including trips by rail.”
Martin Halliday, Community Rail Norfolk Development Officer, said: “We are delighted through the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership to work with the Lowestoft Central Project and Greater Anglia to bring another much-needed public facility to the station. “With the impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic seriously affecting the local tourist economy, we hope this latest development will provide a significant and timely boost to both local and regional tourism and, where appropriate, help to promote travel by rail. “
Dan Poitras, Chair of Lowestoft Vision, said: “I’d like to say a big thank you for all the hard work the team have put in to opening the new Information Centre, with the station located in the centre of town, easy to walk to the beach or stroll left up London Road North to cafes, restaurants, banks, estate agents, solicitors and of course shopping, it couldn’t be more convenient for visitors.”
Lowestoft’s new Tourist Information office will be open daily, Mon – Sat from 10am to 4pm and stocks a wide range of information on a host of attractions across the region. Local organisations wishing to be featured are welcome to drop in or send information by post C/O Lowestoft Central Project, Lowestoft Railway Station, Denmark Rd, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 2EG.